Eaton’s Holiday Display

December 20, 2009 at 8:44 pm (Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

As mentioned last week, I spent the end of last month at the WDM enjoying their Holiday displays and talking pictures with my relatively new camera. I haven’t taken a lot of experimental shots and even fewer night shots. My goal at the WDM was to take decent pictures of the lighted Christmas trees. It didn’t go well. I posted two pictures last week; scroll down to last week’s post and you’ll see them in all their blurriness. I’ll keep working on taking better lighted pictures over the holiday.

Today’s post is about another Holiday tradition of mine.

Though I’m not sure tradition is the right word, since tradition usually implies a long-established or inherited way of acting. I’ve being going to see the Eaton’s Christmas display, on and off, since my teens. I first saw it at around age 15; thus not every year. For a bit of history on Eaton’s displays go here.

The first time I saw the display I was probably around fifteen because this is when we, my family & I, first started to travel regularly to this city, as my eldest sister started university here around then. At that time the display would have been at the Eaton’s store. One of the few places we shopped regularly.

Growing up, both Eaton’s and Sears were very exotic to us as these were the catalogues we ordered things from in our small Saskatchewan town. I remember waiting eagerly for Halloween to be over and the Christmas wish books to come.

We, my younger brother and I, would spend months exploring the catalogues. They were exotic, these were items we didn’t see in our day to day life, and I never thought that these were things that I could own.

I don’t remember making Christmas lists or visiting Santa to ask for what I wanted. We were poor. I knew we were poor and I understood I was to be grateful for what I got no matter what it was. I remember wanting a Thumbelina doll so bad and never getting one.  She moved, just like a real baby, when you pulled her string.

Here's what she looked like in 1967.

I can't believe I use to think she was cute 🙂

In a roundabout way, I guess I’m saying we didn’t have a lot of yearly traditions. Things happened when they happened. There was a yearly Christmas movie day put on by the local movie theatre, there were Sunday school and school contests but there were not a lot of trips elsewhere.

I remember, as a teen, being intrigued by the Eaton’s display. It moved. Skaters skated and Angels stitched. This tells me the display was probably created in the 1960’s because it used basic electronics to set the figures in motion with simple mechanical movements and hidden turntables.

The WDM now houses this display as I discovered last year when I went to view the Christmas trees. I hadn’t seen the Eaton’s display since I left the city in 1991.

The display is mostly non-religious. It is a secular holiday display. Santa is there; that is, the center of the display deals with about 15 panel boxes detailing the story of the Boy who Grew up to be Santa Claus. Which I have no picture of it because it’s not one of my favourites. The biblical story is not there but there are angels which I will show you next week.

It is a very literary displays overall!

There are nursery rhyme characters.

This one rocks, high up above, and you can read the rhyme for yourself. (Well, probably not in this picture – blurry again. The boat was rocking).

I love the Fuzzy Wuzzy bears. I love to say Fuzzy Wuzzy bears. Who are the Fuzzy Wuzzy bears?

There are books between the panels, like this –

And like this –

Heidi is a favourite of mine, both the book and the Shirley Temple movie.

The last four pictures deals with my favourite part of the Eaton’s display: the Winterkins’ Playground. Most everything moves. I got good photos because I realized, by the time I got to them, that the displays are set on motion sensors. This is something the WDM set up when they acquired the display. (I talked to one of the volunteers later and this is what he told me). It’s a good thing I was there early before the crowd!

The playground is so pretty, so sparkly. I love the abundance of white and blue. It reminds me of the best of winter; snow, snow, snow and fun and not too cold.

Look at that merry-go-around and the parachute ride. Doesn’t everyone look like they’re having fun?

Can you imagine riding that Ferris wheel? What are the snow people, the Winterkins, celebrating?

Look a non-blurry action shot... 🙂

Can you guess what the Winterkins are celebrating? I think that they are having a Winter Festival to celebrate the Solstice. The Solstice is tomorrow, December 21 at 11:47 am CST. The days will be getting longer now. Go out. Celebrate.

May your celebration of this season of holidays draw deep from the abundant joy, fierce hopes, and enduring traditions of all of our ancestors.

My next post will be posted on Monday, December 28th as I will be unplugged over the Christmas period as I travel into the depths of rural Saskatchewan. LOL.


  1. William’s Doll « Solitary Spinster said,

    […] this is not my story. Today I want to tell you about my eldest nephew and my Thumbelina doll. Here's what Thumbelina looked like in 1982; just after I purchased […]

  2. Buying My Own Toys | Solitary Spinster said,

    […] I don’t remember making Christmas lists or visiting Santa to ask for what I wanted. We were poor. … […]

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